The basics of YouTube SEO

The basics of YouTube SEO

You may be surprised to learn YouTube is the world’s second largest website. If you know that, you’ll already be wondering how you can tap into the 30 million visitors YouTube gets every day. Here are some strategies you can apply to do that.

  • Keywords are key

As with all SEO, the YouTube SEO process begins with keywords.

Do your research, finding keywords whose YouTube results appear on the first page of Google. Called “Video Keywords”, they differ from the standard SERP (with 10 results) as with Video Keywords Google reserves a good amount of the first page specifically for video results, exposing you to traffic straight from Google first page. Without optimizing your video around a Video Keyword, you’ll only get traffic from people who search on YouTube.

To find a good Video Keyword, use the Google Keyword Planner. Look for a suitable keyword and make sure it’s one with at least 300 searches every month.

  • Quality means quantity

It is vital that your video offers value, is interesting to watch and pleasing on the eye. No matter how good your SEO, if the video is no good, it won’t rank.

Unlike Google, which uses data such as backlinks to asses quality of content, YouTube ranks are all about interactions. They look at how long people watch the video for, comments, shares, favourites, thumbs up/thumbs down, and how often people subscribe after watching a piece. These types of interaction will only happen if your video is of good quality.

It’s shown that long videos perform better, so ensure your video is at least five minutes long. If it needs to be longer, don’t be afraid – so long as your video offers value to the viewer they will watch it.

  • Remember SEO when uploading

Use the Video Keyword in the filename and title. Make your title at least five words long to avoid keyword shuffling, ideally with your keyword at the beginning.

Perhaps most important is your video’s description. Because YouTube and Google rely upon your description to work out what your video is about, use your keyword within the first 25 words and repeat it at least 3 times. Your description needs to be at least 250 words long, and should include your link at the very top, maximising CTR to your site.

Targeted tags will help you appear in the sidebar area of YouTube. 

  • Views, view, views

For your video to rank, you need to get views, and lots of them. YouTube has caught on to fake views – such as through Fiverr – so your views need to be real. A good way to drive traffic is on Q&A sites, searching for subjects your video addresses. Don’t wade in posting links to your own site; embed links directly to the YouTube video in a comment. You are posting this to people already looking for information on your subject, so it’s likely you’ll get views with high retention, helping boost your rating.

People who email you are probably interested in your output, so link your video to your email signature. The same can be said of embedding your videos in your blogs.


Follow these simple tips and your videos will soon be climbing the rankings and driving high quality traffic to your site.

Author Owen Radford

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